Public hearing 10 investigated the education and training of health professionals in relation to care provided to people with cognitive disability in all health fields. People with cognitive disability includes people with intellectual disability, autism, acquired brain injury and dementia.

This report makes 9 findings and 12 recommendations in relation to the education and training of health professionals across Australia including nurses, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and speech pathologists.

Key findings include:

  • Education providers do not have consistent curriculums when teaching students about how to provide care to people with cognitive disability.
  • There are currently no specific requirements to teach health care students about how to provide safe and quality health care to people with cognitive disability. This means that courses vary in how much they teach students about cognitive disability health issues and not all health professionals develop appropriate skills in providing health care to people with cognitive disability.
  • Clinical placements do not consistently prepare students with skills to provide care for patients with cognitive disabilities. Not all students have access to clinical experiences relevant to cognitive disability health.

Key recommendations include:

  • A steering committee is needed to develop a cognitive health capability framework that informs education and training for health practitioners across all training stages.
  • The steering committee should include people or representatives of people with lived experience of cognitive disability.
  • The capability framework should specify the core knowledge, skills and attributes required to provide quality health care for people with cognitive disability.
  • The Australian Government and education providers should take steps to ensure that continuing professional development programs address the health care of people with cognitive disability.
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